Good Help is Hard to Come By
Why is it fall feels like it is so much busier than the rest of the year? I think it is because you have to work around other people’s schedules more than any other part of the year. You have to preg your cows when the vet can be there and ship your calves when the trucker can haul them and it is convenient for the buyer to receive them, all while working around helping neighbors and school. In the summer, if you can’t spray weeds because the wind is blowing, or you don’t get through the heifers in the Red field, you can probably do it the next day and not worry about scheduling conflicts. You have more flexibility during the winter, spring, and summer months.
I feel like I have been running since fair time and haven’t stopped to catch my breath yet. Between getting the boys to and from school, my college class, and working for the Cowboss I haven’t had much opportunity to get into any trouble. On the upside, all 3 of my boys have been too busy to get into trouble as well! QT has been busy helping the Cowboss and me in the mornings before school.
QT and I had a really hard day last week. After we got TR on the bus and off to school, we caught our horses to help the Cowboss and Russ move a bunch of yearlings from the Barn field to the Ryegrass field. After we got them moved, QT and I were to go back for the pickup and trailer, then meet the Cowboss and Russ at the house. Right off the bat we found a yearling that we had missed. We got around her and got her put where she belonged, and headed on our way to the pickup. We were given very specific directions to load our horses, then drive through the pairs in the field next to the Barn field, checking to be sure no heifers had crawled in with the cows and calves. After driving through the pairs we needed to hurry home and get QT fed and ready for school.
We got our horses and dog loaded and drove through the pairs. We didn’t notice any yearlings and were ready to go home. Then I noticed 1 hot cow and 13 yearlings in the field we just came out of. I asked QT what he thought we should do, let dad get them later, or unload our horses and put them away ourselves. He was pretty sure we better get them for dad, so we parked the trailer a little closer to the gate we would push them through and unloaded our horses and dog.
The cows were pretty wound up, and took off in a long trot in the wrong direction when we got on our horses. We trotted off to get around them and QT did a really good job keeping up. Then we chased those cows all over that field. If there was a wrong way to go or a chance to scatter, the cows took it. It felt like we were trying to herd cats. We ran back and forth across a boggy creek 3 times before the cows bee lined it for the willows. I got QT back across the creek and told him to sit right where he was and I would chase them through the willows. It took me a good 15 minutes up, down, and across the boggy creek in the willows, a few tears and a lot of swear words before I finally got them out of the willows and headed somewhat in the right direction. I let out a holler for QT to catch up, and he and old “Knothead” made good time trotting across the field to me.
I told him that if we could get the cows past the barn at the Oglvie and could keep them on the fence we would be in the clear. If he could keep them coming, I would stay on the side and keep them together and going the same direction. I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts we were going to get all of them past the barn and to the gate. Between my 5 year old cowboy, 6 month old puppy, and colt, things were not going well and I was ready to cut my losses and let the Cowboss get them another day. Every time I looked back though, my little man was whooping and hollering, working back and forth pushing those cows for all he was worth, never slowing from a trot. We got them past the barn and QT held them up in the corner while I got the gate opened, then he brought them to me and I turned them in. I don’t know how we did it, but we finally got them through the gate.
Riding back to the trailer I told QT that I was very proud of him. I said he did a good job, I was so glad he was there to help me, and that I didn’t think I would have ever got those cows on my own. He looked up at me just as serious as could be and told me “I know mom. Let’s go home so I can go to school.” He’s good help. I'll take him over most people any day!